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See also: , , ح‎, ج‎, خ, and Շ
Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai TE.png
U+3066, て



Stroke order

Etymology 1Edit

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.



(romaji te)

  1. The hiragana syllable (te). Its equivalent in katakana is (te). It is the nineteenth syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (ta-gyō e-dan, row ta, section e).
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From the ren'yōkei of the classical auxiliary verb (tsu).



(rōmaji te)

  1. A conjunctive particle, attaching to the ren'yōkei of verbs and adjectives. When attached to godan verbs, onbin sound changes may occur, sometimes changing the particle into (-de).
    1. Simply indicates actions or states that occur simultaneously.
       (おお)きく (あま)いリンゴ
      ōkikute amai ringo
      a big, sweet apple
       (あね)がピアノを () (いもうと) (うた) (うた)う。
      Ane ga piano o hiite imōto ga uta o utau.
      The elder sister plays piano and the younger sister sings songs.
    2. Indicates actions or states that occur successively.
       (いえ) (かえ)、テレビを ()た。
      Ie ni kaette, terebi o mita.
      I went back home and watched TV.
    3. Indicates reason or cause.
      風邪 (かぜ) ()学校 (がっこう) (やす)んだ。
      Kaze o hiite, gakkō o yasunda.
      I didn't go to school because I caught a cold.
    4. Used as a contrastive conjunction.
       () ()ぬふりmite minu furisaw but pretended not to see → turn a blind eye
       ()ってい (おし)えない
      shitte ite oshienai
      to know something but not to tell it
    5. Indicates method or state.
       (よろこ)一日 (いちにち) ()ごした。
      Yorokonde ichinichi o sugoshita.
      I spend the day happily.
    6. Followed by hojodōshi (subsidiary verbs, corresponding to auxiliary verbs in western languages) such as いる (iru), ある (aru), やる (yaru), くれる (kureru), あげる (ageru), もらう (morau), おく (oku), くる (kuru), いく (iku), etc., to make their complement.
      日本語 (にほんご)勉強 (べんきょう)いる
      Nihongo o benkyō shite iru.
      I'm learning Japanese.
       (つくえ) (うえ) ()ある
      Tsukue no ue ni oite aru.
      It's put on the desk.
    7. Used in the form …て…て (… te … te) to show emphasis or repetition.
    8. ては (-te wa) and ても (-te mo) make conditional clauses.
  2. A sentence-final particle, derived from the conjunctive particle above. Attaches to verbs and adjectives in the same way, and usually takes the form って when attaching to adjectives. Considered quite feminine.
    1. Used to seek opinion or ask a question.
      もうご (らん)になっ
      Mō goran ni natte?
      Have you seen it?
      Is it OK?
    2. Indicates the speaker's opinion or judgment. Usually followed by (yo).
      手紙 (てがみ)ちょうだいね。 ()って
      O-tegami chōdai ne. Matte te yo
      Please send me a letter. I'm waiting.
    3. Short for ください (-te kudasai) or くれ (-te kure): makes a light command or request. Usually followed by (yo) or (ne).
      ちょっと ()
      chotto matte
      Wait a minute.
  3. Alternative form of the case, binding or sentence-final particle って (tte), used after the /ɴ/ sound.
    こまちゃん ()うな――!!
    Koma-chan te iuna――!!
    Don't call me Koma-chan!
Usage notesEdit
  • When the (te) indicates method or state, ない (nai) + (te) becomes ないで (naide) instead of the regular なくて (nakute):
     (はん) ()なくて ()gohan o tabenakute detaI didn't eat and I went out.
     (はん) ()ないで ()gohan o tabenaide detaI went out without eating.
  • In formal writing, (te) is not used when simply indicating a series of actions or states. Instead, the ren'yōkei is used for all but the last action or state, and いる (iru) (which becomes (i)) is replaced by おり (ori).
     (あね)がピアノを ()き、 (いもうと) (うた) (うた)う。ane ga piano o hiki, imōto ga uta o utau.(formal) The elder sister plays piano and the younger sister sings songs.
  • In the western analysis of Japanese grammar, “ (te)” is not a particle but a suffix, and “ren'yōkei + (te)” is usually called the gerund, a term used for subordinate adverbial verb forms in the description of many languages such as Dutch, Italian and Russian. For Japanese this nomenclature is found first in the works of Portuguese missionaries such as the Arte da Lingoa de Iapam[1] and continues to be used to this day. In Japanese materials adopting the western analysis of Japanese grammar, this form is simply called the テ形 (-te kei, -te form).

Etymology 3Edit

For pronunciation and definitions of – see the following entry at .
[noun]paw, foreleg
[noun]way of doing something, means
[noun](board games) a move; a play
[suffix]one who does something; -ist; -er
(This term, , is a hiragana spelling of .)


  1. ^ Frellesvig, Bjarke (2010) A History of the Japanese Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 57